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What Is a Yeast Infection?

What Is a Yeast Infection?

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Yeast Infection -- advisory by Roman Lester Rosales, Guardian Senior Pharmacist

What is a yeast infection?
A yeast infection (also known as vaginal thrush or vaginal candidiasis) is an infection of the vulvovaginal (external and internal female genital organs) area caused by the Candida species of yeast fungi. It is a common condition that most women would experience at some point in their life.

What are its common symptoms?
Vaginal itch, redness, swelling, and a burning sensation are common symptoms of vaginal thrush. It typically also comes coupled with abnormal vaginal discharge. The discharge is odourless and its consistency can range from being slightly watery, to being thick, white, and chunky.

How should a yeast infection be managed?
Yeast infections can be easily managed with pharmacy-only medications and good feminine hygiene. Some of these medications include vaginal tablets or pessaries containing anti-fungal agents (e.g. clotrimazole, tioconazole, isoconazole, etc.) which come in either one-day, two-day or three-day therapies. These are usually inserted into the vagina once or twice daily. An oral anti-fungal medication (fluconazole) that is taken as a single dose is also available from pharmacies for women above 16 years of age.

When should a doctor be consulted?
Self-treatment is not recommended if the yeast infection is accompanied by a fever or any pain in the lower abdomen, back or shoulders. If the person is experiencing these symptoms for the first time, is below 12 years old, or pregnant, a doctor's referral is recommended.

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